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Earth 2314: Humanity scatters its populations to the stars
Dick Pelletier   Feb 23, 2014   Ethical Technology  

After rising from the primordial soup 3.5 billion years ago, Earth life began an evolutionary trip that has produced today’s amazing human. Futurists now ponder what’s next. Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Thomas Frey, Ray Kurzweil, and other forward-thinkers believe technologies will advance exponentially in the centuries ahead, creating sweeping changes in how we view life, our planet, and the cosmos.

    Of course, no one can forecast with 100% accuracy how the future will progress as we trek through the future; but if we look at what experts predict will happen over the next two-to-three decades; and then blend in some scenarios that push the envelope – an amazing Star Trek-like future becomes possible.

    During the 2010s and 2020s, stem cell and genetic engineering advances were credited with lowering death rates from 50 million in 2014, to 35 million by 2020, and 5 million by 2030. And as we entered the 2030s, medical nanotech flaunted its power with robots that rewrite DNA errors. These clever 'bots keep bodies in perfect health 24/7, and have eliminated society's most dreaded scourge – aging.

    By 2040, artificial body parts become popular, and a better understanding of consciousness enables doctors to transfer minds from damaged bodies into newly-cloned ones. Dying is now no more disruptive than a bee sting. By 2060 unwanted death has become only an unpleasant memory of our crude past.

    From 2050 to 2100, influenced by successful Moon and Mars forays, civilization began a mass exodus to space. By 2100, more than a billion enhanced people were living on Moon and Mars, and in artificial habitats circling Earth. By 2200, the balance was finally tipped. More humans live in space than on Earth.

    Humanity's first off-world baby was born on Mars in late 2030s during construction of the red planet's first colony. As the centuries unfold, society's presence in space explodes. By 2314, only 3 billion humans remain on Earth, but nearly 50 billion people enjoy their dream life in space living in non-bio bodies.

    Scientists at CERN announced a yet to be replicated 'anomaly:' the possibility that a neutrino had exceeded the speed of light. Later this proved to be false as special relativity tells us that particles containing mass can never travel at light speed. However, positive futurists reason that one day it might be possible to alter neutrons making them immune to the effects of acceleration.

    These futurists were spot on. The light speed barrier, written so permanently in the laws of physics, was soon erased, which quickly opened the flood gates to develop faster-than-light-speed travel systems.

    Humanity's first encounter with intelligent aliens occurred in 2150 at a Mars gathering with inhabitants from a planet orbiting a star 43 light years from Earth. With human-like bodies and having mastered faster-than-light-speed travel, our new space neighbors arrived at the meeting point in just ten years.

    In some science fields, humans led the way; in other areas, the aliens were more advanced. Both species saw benefits in cooperation though, and it didn't take long to reach an agreement for sharing science and technologies. This accord eventually evolved into a Star Trek Federation-like organization with goals to seek out new intelligent life forms, and develop a better understanding of our galaxy.

    To date the group has found over 1,000 intelligent life forms, with most joining the Federation. Humans possess the most powerful artificial intelligence and have become the dominant force in the organization.

    By 2100, scientists harnessed 100% of Earth's energy. This has allowed us to control the weather and develop warp-speed spaceships. By 2200, we had accessed all of our sun's energy, which made intra-galactic travel practical. By early 2300s, we began mining energy from other stars, giving us the power to form and operate wormholes. This allows instant communication and travel to vast distances in space.

    By 2314, we have learned how to send information through time, which allows us to copy the minds of friends and family just before they died, and bring them into our future time to continue with their lives.

    21st century science cured sickness, ended aging and death, and ushered in machine intelligence. 22nd and 23rd centuries promise a future filled with miracles almost beyond our ability to comprehend.

Dick Pelletier was a weekly columnist who wrote about future science and technologies for numerous publications. He passed away on July 22, 2014.

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